Bullying is a problem, that much we know. So what can we do to reduce such hostile behaviour? TEARAWAY Maverick TIERNEY REARDON has some suggestions.


Everyone knows the age-old chant:“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” But the fact is that name-calling does hurt, and it's important that New Zealanders acknowledge this.

Bullying is a problem in New Zealand. In a 'Like Minds, Like Mine' survey in 2013, 93% of young people surveyed said that they frequently experienced people around them treating individuals in a negative manner. In some cases, this bullying was related to a person's disability or personal appearance.

So what can we do to reduce such hostile behaviour? Here are two ideas.


Pink Shirt Day is an annual event that celebrates diversity and encourages us to create strong, positive bonds with each other.
During Pink Shirt Day, which coincides with Ara Taiohi Youth Week, New Zealanders are encouraged to put on a pink shirt. It's a way to show support for the idea that everyone can help prevent bullying in schools and communities.

The pink shirt symbolises strength and unity, amongst young people in particular. This year in New Zealand, Pink Shirt Day will be held on May 23.
The event began in 2007, in Nova Scotia, Canada. Two high school students stood up for a younger male classmate, who was being bullied for wearing a pink T-shirt to class. The bullies taunted the boy because the shirt was “gay”. This was obviously not okay – and so teens David Shepherd and Travis Price decided to speak up and support the bullied classmate.

The next day, Shepherd and Price handed out pink T-shirts to the entire class, who all wore the shirts that day to support the Grade 9 bullying victim. The bullying quickly stopped, and Pink Shirt Day was born.

It's fitting that the event is based around the day that a couple of teens made such a huge difference in raising awareness about bullying and standing up for what they believed was morally correct.

For more on Pink Shirt Day, click here.

As a way to educate young people on the importance of speaking up and not being afraid to express their feelings, the Mental Health Foundation (a supporter of Pink Shirt Day) are running a competition for secondary school students.
The competition is to make a 30-second to 1-minute YouTube video, about the effects that negative words and name-calling can have. People interested in entering the competition should email [email protected] Entries close on June 20.